As always I am late to a trend again. This time it's bullet journalling - a system of organisation that seems to have taken the entire world by storm.
Bullet journals are typically created in dotted or grid lined notebooks and are intended as a way of planning everything in your life; to do lists, calendars, savings goals, habit trackers and inspiration all sit side by side in a notebook crammed with ideas and information. You might have seen them on Pinterest or instagram. Obviously I needed one.
Being a little bit of a student (aka - cheapskate) meant that I couldn't spring for the coveted Leuchturm 1917 that all the cool kids are using, so instead I went for an orchid coloured soft cover dotted moleksine. Just a word of advice - check what size notebook you're buying, as my moleskine is not the A5 size that is normally used for a bullet journal, it's actually a rather small pocket size (about A6). Personally this doesn't bother me but as you'll see from the photos below, it can inhibit you slightly if you want to follow the 'traditional' BuJo style.
Without further ado, let's get inside my BuJo!
Firstly, There is no index. Not being one for rules, or indexes, I opted not to have one in my BuJo. I don't use them, I forget to fill them in and I couldn't be bothered to write 100 numbers on the bottom of my pages. I don't think personally you need an index to make a bullet journal, especially if your notebook has a divider in it. I also don't have a key (more on that later).
My first page might actually be one of my favourites, even though I probably shouldn't have put in on a single page. I have wanted to track how often and how hard I work out at the gym for ages - partly for fitness reasons, partly for interest and partly for money reasons - and always found it difficult. I find that if I write in my personal diary that I'm going to the gym it gets lost and I can't visually see what I've done. This little tracker makes it super simple and quick to see when I last went and whether or not I've worked as hard as I wanted to.
The workout log continues into the second page, as I wanted to use it for more than two months. On the opposite side of the page I started my first daily page. For my first to do list, I tried to write nicely and put each letter in it's own little box but with a BuJo this small it's a bit difficult to do. Later to do lists just involve writing as I see fit... You'll notice as well that I don't really use the 'correct' symbols in my journal; I find it really difficult to look at a list and say "Yes, that's done" if it's not super obvious. So I've gone with a simple system - box completely coloured for a task completed, box half coloured for a task half completed, box crossed through for a task I didn't do and an arrow if I need to do it tomorrow/some other day. I'm not sure I need much else in my lists, to be honest.
Another couple of daily task lists on these pages, and a reading log. I don't particularly like the reading log because it doesn't really fit a purpose but this is because the notebook is too small - I'd much rather have it in a landscape orientation than a portrait one. No, I still haven't finished Kafka on the Shore (I am cursed with an inability to read the final 70 pages of any book).
Probably my favourite spread in my journal right here. It's a habit tracker designed to track over 6 months whether I'm drinking enough water, not spending enough money and doing enough studying. The studying one is slightly redundant at the moment as I'm on break from university but it's nice to have. I fear that the 2 hour or more limit may have been set too high, but we'll see. I may compromise on that in the future... I can't wait to see this spread completed!
Just a basic, badly drawn, badly thought out future log. I probably won't use something like this again - I write future appointments in my actual diary (I have another A5 moleskine in orchid that I use to remember assignment dates, future appointments, where I'm meant to be on a specific day etc.) But that's ok.
On the left hand side I have created a savings jar; I'm hoping to have this completed by the time I return to university in five weeks (what can I say, I am nothing if not ambitious). I really like this style of savings chart; it helps me keep accountable to actually moving and keeping money in my savings. I may write my starting balance on the page somewhere to remind me what I'm working with. On the right and the subsequent two double page spreads I have listed all the Olympic events that I want to watch this year and when they're on. Or, I will write in when they're on when I get round to it.
I'm planning to draw something in the blank space below the end of the Olympic schedule here. Just another set of daily trackers - actually, probably my favourite set. They're neat, to the point and most importantly FILLED IN! As my journal is more of a task list than a daily diary I don't have days for Thursday and Friday of that week; I was too busy with work so I actually didn't do much worth writing in my journal.
Again, I'm planning to draw something in the space below the end of the diary on the left hand side. I am absolutely in love with my placement notes to do list - I wish all my pages had turned out like this spread! I think that when I've got the drawings done these two double pages could become my favourites in my book. For my placement next semester I'll be working in an inpatient ward for women suffering from the listed illnesses so I need to get my learning done! I'm very excited to go and having somewhere to log what I have written up and what I need to look at is really useful.
Ooph. Basic spending log on the left, again highlighting the error of choosing a small notebook to do this in. I've been trying to write everything in my journal in my Staedtler pens but I was at work when I put the last two amounts in and so they look really scruffy... I don't like the daily lists on the other side either. I need to figure out a decent way of tracking my mood (it's been terrible most of this week) which is why there's a random sad face but it's still in the planning stages atm.
I had some bad news yesterday so I didn't get any of my (two) tasks done when I got home from work - I'm not ashamed to admit I came home, got chinese food and cried whilst watching a movie. Rough day. I do like the dissertation ideas spread on the other side but I wish I'd done it on a double page so I could have put more ideas down. It's crazy that I need to be thinking of this already when I only started my course in January but hey! Needs must. So I'm trying to be organised and get my ideas in one place as much as possible. I'll need to go into each of these topics and research them further at some point, so it's good to have a starting place.
As you can see, as I've used my BuJo more, my daily pages have started to evolve. I have very little need for a monthly spread at the moment but one of the problems with the smaller size journal is that it's only about 40 boxes wide (see the habit tracker below) so doing any kind of substantial monthly layout is impossible. This doesn't bother me massively though. It is a bit of a different take on bullet journalling but I think the underlying message is that you can adapt this system to suit you, your life and most importantly, what you have already. You don't need to go and buy fancy expensive notebooks and pens, you can do this any way you want!
I'm using the Staedtler rollerball pens, as you can see above. I do like them and you can see that they don't bleed through but they do have a tendency to smudge which is more than a little irritating. There's also a limited range of colours but I think you can get a bigger pack if you want.
I love seeing other people's different takes on bullet journalling and the spreads they come up with so please comment below if you have a BuJo blog!